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UK invests £6m in green build

The UK Technology Strategy Board has pledged investment in 6 research projects for the development of materials and components that will reduce energy and water consumption.

The Technology Strategy Board is investing £3 million to support the 6 projects, but if including contributions from the companies involved, the total value of the research could be over £6 million.

The projects include R&D that will create:

  • The next generation of high-efficiency, cost-effective windows;
  • Energy-efficient, low-cost, lightweight building systems;
  • The development of Sitka spruce for sustainable housing;
  • New highly insulated, low-cost, external wall construction systems.

Funding competitions

Details of some of the new projects are:

TeceWall (Thermal Efficient Cost Effective Wall): TeceWall will provide low cost external wall construction that meets the performance requirements necessary for Code level 6 new buildings, with flexibility in design, appearance and buildability. The system will be: airtight, as thin as possible (because of land take), cost efficient, highly insulated, able to integrate with services, perform satisfactorily acoustically, fire and impact resistant, have an acceptable appearance and meet the requirements for future climate change. Partners: H+H UK Limited (lead), Bovis Homes Ltd, Ibstock Brick Limited, Minett Group Limited, Gaunt Francis Architects.

STARTLINK lightweight building system: The STARTLINK consortium will develop energy-efficient, low cost housing that is rapid to build by developing a family of lightweight pultruded composite fire-resistant profiles and innovative, labour-saving assembly techniques. Partners: Fibreforce Ltd (t/a Exel Composites UK) (lead), Larkfleet Homes Ltd, OCS Structural Plastics Ltd, John Hutchinson (Architect), Costain Group PLC, University of Warwick.

Improved Processes and Materials for Energy Saving Glazing (PROMISE): The project will develop new improved 'low E' coatings coupled with more efficient cost effect processes to fabricate them. Low emissivity glass, sometimes known as 'low E' or 'low energy glass', is playing an increasingly significant role in building energy efficiency. The key feature of this glass technology is a thin coating with a refractive index chosen to enhance the capture of solar energy and reduce heat loss from within the building. Partners: SAFC Hitech Ltd (lead), Pilkington Technology Management Limited, University of Liverpool.

Sustainable housing from Sitka spruce - (The Shss House): The aim of the project is to take forward the results of previous basic research and overcome the technical barriers and economic challenges in the development of Sitka spruce in an integrated whole house system for low carbon affordable housing. This will promote the conversion of a high volume, low value crop into a high value low carbon whole building system which is: Low cost; high-utility; and sustainable. Partners: Coed Cymru, Pontrilas Group Packaging Limited, Kenton Jones Ltd, Grwp Gwalia.

The government-funded organisation will also open three more funding competitions to find new technologies that will cut the environmental impact of buildings, investing a further £24 million.

The three funding competitions, which will open in the summer of 2009, are:

  • Retrofit for the Future. Announced by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown in January, the competition will invite proposals for suppliers to design and install technology that will improve the energy efficiency and environmental performance of the UK’s current housing stock. Companies will be invited to bid for contracts, worth a total of £10 million, to work with social housing providers, refurbishing at least 50 buildings as examples and then evaluating their environmental performance;
  • Design and Decision Tools. This competition, which will involve Technology Strategy Board investment of £4 million, is planned to improve the design of low impact buildings though more effective and usable design and decision tools for use at every stage of the design process;
  • Monitoring of Demonstrator Buildings. This competition will enable companies constructing demonstrator buildings to apply for funding to monitor building performance, enabling comparison with predicted performance. The Technology Strategy Board is set to invest £10 million in the competition.

Richard Miller, Leader of the Low Impact Building Innovation Platform at the Technology Strategy Board, says: “The new build market in the UK alone is currently worth about £50 billion a year. And over 80% of the buildings we will be using in 2050 have already been built. UK businesses with innovative technologies, whether for new build or to improve the environmental performance of existing buildings, will be well placed to take advantage of the growing global demand for environmentally friendly buildings.”

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Energy efficiency  •  Green building